The Adventures of Telemachus, the Son of Ulysses

The Adventures of Telemachus, the Son of Ulysses

Introduction and Notes by LESLIE A. CHILTON
The Text Edited by O M BRACK
Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 432
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  • Book Info
    The Adventures of Telemachus, the Son of Ulysses
    Book Description:

    The Adventures of Telemachusis the first critical edition of Tobias Smollett's 1776 translation of Bishop Fénelon's 1699 "mirror for princes," written especially for Duc de Burgogne, heir presumptive to Louis XIV.

    Both in its original French and its many translations,The Adventures of Telemachuswas one of the most popular and revered works of the eighteenth century. There were more than ten English prose and poetry versions, including this masterful prose translation by Smollett. Known for his novelsRoderick RandomandThe Expedition of Humphry Clinker, Smollett was also a gifted translator.The Adventures of Telemachuswas his final translation and is one of the finest versions of the work. Long a disputed title in the Smollett canon, it is fully restored to his credit by Leslie A. Chilton.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-4643-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    L. C., J. C. B. and O M B.
    (pp. xvii-xxxvi)

    On 24 and 25 July 1776, theGazetteer and New Daily Advertiserannounced publication of Tobias Smollett’s translation of François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon’sLes aventures de Télémaque(1699). This new translation, entitledThe Adventures of Telemachus, the Son of Ulysses, appeared nearly five years after Smollett’s death on 17 September 1771. Having resorted to translation throughout his career in times of financial distress, Smollett found himself returning to such work during his final illness. Télémaque, apparently familiar to Smollett from his youth, was a particularly apt choice with which to conclude his career as a translator, for it...

  7. The Adventures of Telemachus, the Son of Ulysses
      • BOOK I.
        (pp. 3-12)

        Calypso remained inconsolable for the departure of Ulysses. Thus afflicted, she found herself miserable in being immortal. Her grotto no longer resounded with her songs. Her attendant nymphs were afraid to speak to her: she often walked solitary upon the flowery turf, which a perpetual spring had diffused around her island. But these charming retreats, far from asswaging her grief, served only to recall the melancholy remembrance of Ulysses, by whom she had been so often accompanied. Frequently did she stand motionless on the beach of the sea, which she watered with her tears, and her face was always turned...

      • BOOK II.
        (pp. 13-25)

        The Tyrians by their pride, had attracted the resentment of king Sesostris,¹ who reigned in Egypt and subdued so many realms. The wealth they had acquired by commerce, and the strength of the impregnable city of Tyre, which was built in the sea, had inflated the hearts of those people: they refused to pay the tribute which Sesostris imposed upon them in his return from his conquests; and they furnished troops to his brother, who had formed a design to assassinate him at his arrival in the midst of the rejoicings of a great festival. Sesostris, in order to abase...

      • BOOK III.
        (pp. 26-38)

        Calypso listened with astonishment to words fraught with such sagacity. What chiefly pleased her, was to find Telemachus ingenuously recounting the faults he had committed through precipitation and want of due attention to the advice of the sage Mentor. She distinguished a surprising magnanimity in this young man, who frankly owned his own errors, and seemed to have profited so much by his indiscretion, as to become wise, provident, and modest. “Proceed,” said she, “my dear Telemachus, I am impatient to know how you quitted Ægypt, and where you found again the sage Mentor, the loss of whom you so...

      • BOOK IV.
        (pp. 39-50)

        Calypso, who had thus far heard Telemachus recount his adventures, with the utmost attention and transport, now interrupted him, that he might take a little repose. “It is time,” said she, “that you refresh yourself with a little rest after such immense fatigue. Here you have nothing to make you uneasy; all is friendly and favourable. Let your heart then give way to joy; let it relish the quiet, and all the other gifts which the gods are going to pour down upon you. To-morrow, when Aurora with her rosy fingers shall begin to unlock the gilded gates of the...

      • BOOK V.
        (pp. 51-62)

        After having beheld this scene with admiration, we began to descry the mountains of Crete, which, however, we could hardly yet distinguish from the clouds and the billows. But we soon perceived the summit of Ida, towering above those of the other mountains of the island, as much as the branching horns of an old stag in the forest over-top those of the young fawns that follow in his train. By degrees we saw more distinctly the coasts of the island, which appeared to our eyes like an amphitheatre. As much as Cyprus seemed neglected and uncultivated, so much did...

      • BOOK VI.
        (pp. 63-70)

        The old men immediately quitted the sacred grove, and the chief of them taking me by the hand, acquainted the people, who waited with impatience for their decision, that I had gained the prize. Scarce had he done speaking, when a confused noise ran through the whole assembly. Every one shouted for joy. The whole coast, and neighbouring mountains, echoed with these words: ‘May the son of Ulysses, who resembles Minos, reign over the Cretans.’ After waiting a while, I made a sign with my hand, to intimate my desire to be heard. In the mean time, Mentor whispered thus...

      • BOOK VII.
        (pp. 71-86)

        When Telemachus had finished the recital of his adventures, the nymphs, Who had never taken their eyes off him all the time, and had been extremely attentive, now stared at one another. “Who,” said they to one another, greatly surprised, “are these two men, so much favoured by the gods? Were ever such marvellous adventures heard of before? The son of Ulysses already surpasses his father in eloquence, wisdom, and valour. What an air! what beauty! what sweetness! what modesty! nay, and what nobleness and magnanimity! if we did not know he is a mortal, we should be apt to...

      • BOOK VIII.
        (pp. 87-102)

        The ship at anchor,¹ towards which they swam, was from Phœnicia, and bound to Epirus. The people on board had seen Telemachus in the passage from Egypt to Tyre, but they could not recognize him amidst the waves. Mentor, having approached near enough to the ship to be heard, raised his head above the water, and, with a loud voice, thus addressed himself to those on board:² “O Phœnicians, whose humanity is known to all nations, refuse not to save the lives of two men, who expect it from your goodness. If you entertain any veneration for the gods, take...

      • BOOK IX.
        (pp. 103-114)

        While Telemachus and Adoam were thus engaged in conversation, never thinking of sleep, nor perceiving that the night was already half spent; a malicious, deceitful divinity carried them far from Ithaca, which the pilot Athamas endeavoured to make in vain. Neptune, though he favoured the Phœnicians, yet could not digest Telemachus’s escape in the tempest, which had driven him upon the rocks in Calypso’s isle. Venus was still more exasperated against him, for his having triumphed over Cupid, and all the powers of beauty. So violent was her chagrin, that she bid adieu to Paphos, Cythera, Idalium, and all the...

      • BOOK X.
        (pp. 115-125)

        Mentor, looking with a mild and pleasant countenance at Telemachus, who discovered a noble ardour for the fight, addressed him thus: “Son of Ulysses, I am very glad to find you animated with such a noble passion for glory; but then you ought to remember that it was by shewing himself to be the wisest and most moderate among them, that your father acquired so much among the Greeks at the siege of Troy.¹ Achilles, though invincible and invulnerable, carrying terror and death wherever he charged, yet, was never able of himself to reduce the city of Troy. He even...

      • BOOK XI.
        (pp. 126-134)

        Meanwhile, the impatient Telemachus, withdrawing privately from the crowd that surrounded him, ran to the gate by which Mentor had gone forth, and, with an air of authority, commanded it to be opened. In a moment Idomeneus, who thought he was still standing by him, is surprised to see him advancing over the fields towards Nestor. Nestor recognises him, and hastens to receive him, though with a slow and heavy pace. Telemachus, throwing his arms about his neck, holds him fast locked in his embrace without being able to speak. At last, however, he exclaimed: “O my father, for I...

      • BOOK XII.
        (pp. 137-155)

        The whole army of the allies had now pitched their tents, and the fields were covered all over with rich pavilions of all sorts of colours, in which the fatigued Hesperians had laid themselves down to rest. When the kings entered Salentum, they were amazed to find so many magnificent edifices erected in so short a time, and that the embarrassment of so great a war had not prevented the sudden increase and embellishment of the infant city.

        They admired the wisdom and vigilance of Idomeneus, the founder of such a hopeful state;¹ and they all agreed, that should he,...

      • BOOK XIII.
        (pp. 156-168)

        Already the fame of Idomeneus for his mild and moderate government attracts great numbers of people from all quarters to incorporate with his subjects, and to partake of their happiness under so gentle an administration. Already those fields that had been so long covered with briars and thorns, promise plentiful crops and fruits, till then unknown. The earth opens her bosom to the plough-share, and teems with riches to reward the husbandman: and hope revives on all hands. In the vallies, and on the hills are seen flocks of sheep, frisking about upon the grass, and herds of oxen and...

      • BOOK XIV.
        (pp. 169-179)

        After having spoke to this effect, Mentor made Idomeneus sensible that he ought immediately to dismiss Protesilaus and Timocrates, and recall Philocles. The only difficulty that remained, was the king’s apprehension with respect to the severity of Philocles. “I own,” said he, “I cannot help dreading a little his return, though I love and esteem his virtue. From my earliest infancy I have been accustomed to such adulation, officious zeal and compliances, as I cannot expect from that man. As often as I took any step which he did not approve, I discovered it immediately by his melancholy air; and...

      • BOOK XV.
        (pp. 180-191)

        In the mean time Telemachus signalized his courage in all the perils of war. When he left Salentum, he studied to gain the affection of the old commanders, who had attained to the highest pitch of reputation and experience. Nestor, who had seen him before at Pylos, and who had always esteemed his father, treated him as if he had been his own son; giving him instructions, and enforcing them by divers examples; recounting to him all the adventures of his youth, and all the most remarkable exploits that he had seen performed by the heroes of the preceding age....

      • BOOK XVI.
        (pp. 192-202)

        While Philoctetes thus recounted his adventures, Telemachus kept his eyes fixed upon that great man, and listened with the utmost attention and admiration. All the different passions with which Hercules, Philoctetes, Ulysses, and Neoptolemus had been affected, appeared successively upon the countenance of the young Telemachus as they were represented. In the course of the narration he sometimes exclaimed and interrupted Philoctetes undesignedly;¹ sometimes he appeared very thoughtful, like one meditating deeply upon the consequences of things. When Philoctetes described the perplexity of Neoptolemus, who was incapable of dissimulation, Telemachus seemed to be in the same situation; and one would...

      • BOOK XVII.
        (pp. 203-214)

        Jupiter, enthroned amidst the whole assembly of the gods on the summit of Olympus, beheld this slaughter of the allies. At the same time, consulting the immutable destinies, he saw all the chiefs, the thread of whose life was that day to be cut by the fatal scissars. Each of the gods endeavoured, by narrowly observing the countenance of Jupiter, to discover what his pleasure would be.¹ But the father of the gods and men, with a mild majestic voice, declared: “You see to what extremity the allies are reduced, and how Adrastus mows down his enemies; but this appearance...

      • BOOK XVIII.
        (pp. 215-227)

        Adrastus, whose troops had suffered considerably in the engagement, had withdrawn behind the mountain Aulon, to wait for new reinforcements, and watch an opportunity of surprising his enemies once more. He resembled a famished lion, who, having been driven from a sheep-fold, returns to the gloomy forests, and enters his den, where he whets his teeth and claws, and waits for a favourable opportunity to destroy all the flocks. Telemachus, having taken care to establish a strict discipline in the camp, turned all his thoughts towards the executing a design he had formed, but had communicated to none of the...

      • BOOK XIX.
        (pp. 228-238)

        When Telemachus quitted these dismal places, he found himself eased and disencumbered; as if a mountain had been taken off his shoulders.² From which sensation,³ he perceived how wretched was the lot of those who were confined to them, without hope of ever getting away; and it greatly affected him to see,⁴ how much more rigorously kings were punished, than other bad men. “What!” said he, “so many duties, dangers, and snares; so many difficulties to surmount, to come at the truth, and to guard against others, as well as one’s own self! and lastly, such horrible woes after death...

      • BOOK XX.
        (pp. 239-253)

        Mean while the chiefs of the allied army held a council, to determine whether it would be proper to take possession of Venusium, a strong city, which Adrastus had unjustly surprised and taken, some time before, from the Peucetes of Apulia, his neighbours, who, with a view to obtain redress, had joined the confederates. In order to pacify them, Adrastus had put the city into the hands of the Lucanians, in trust, but had corrupted with his money both the Lucanian garrison and commander; so that Venusium was actually more at his disposal than that of the Lucanians; and the...

      • BOOK XXI.
        (pp. 254-265)

        Adrastus was no sooner dead, than the Daunians, far from regretting their defeat, and the loss of their chief, rejoiced at their deliverance; offering their hands to the allies, in token of their pacific disposition and reconciliation. Metrodorus, the son of Adrastus, whom his father had trained to maxims of dissimulation, injustice, and cruelty, like a coward, betook himself to flight. But a slave, who had been his accomplice in all his cruel and infamous actions, to whom he had granted liberty and many favours, and who now attended him in his flight, thought of nothing but abusing his confidence...

      • BOOK XXII.
        (pp. 266-275)

        The young son of Ulysses glowed with impatience to be with Mentor again at Salentum, and to embark with him for Ithaca, where he hoped his father had by this time arrived. As he approached Salentum, he was greatly surprised to find all the neighbourhood cultivated like a garden, and full of industrious people, which at his departure was little better than a desart, and concluded that it was the work of the sage Mentor. Then entering the city, he perceived fewer artisans for the luxuries of life, and much less magnificence than he had observed before.¹ This change disgusted...

      • BOOK XXIII.
        (pp. 276-286)

        Idomeneus, who dreaded the departure of Mentor and Telemachus, used all his endeavours to retard it. He told Mentor he could not, without his assistance, terminate a difference that had arisen between Diophanes, priest of Jupiter, conservator,¹ and Heliodorus, priest of Apollo, in regard to the presages taken from the flight of birds, and the entrails of victims. “Why,” said Mentor, “would you concern yourself with things sacred? Leave the decision of them to the Hetrurians, who have the traditions of the most ancient oracles, and are qualified by inspiration to be the interpreters of the gods. You ought only...

      • BOOK XXIV.
        (pp. 287-302)

        The anchors being now weighed, and the wind swelling the sails, the land seems to retreat; and the experienced pilot descries at a distance the mountains of Leucate, whose tops are hid with frozen fogs, together with the Acroceraunian heights, which still present a proud lofty front to heaven, after having been so often shattered with thunder-bolts. During the voyage, Telemachus said to Mentor: “Methinks I now comprehend the political maxims which you have explained for my instruction.¹ At first they appeared to me like a dream, but by degrees they become more clear and intelligible; as all objects at...

    (pp. 303-324)
    (pp. 325-346)
    (pp. 347-355)
    (pp. 357-362)

    The little that is known of the circumstances surrounding Smollett’s translation of Fénelon’sLes Aventures de Télémaquehas been set out in the introduction to this volume.¹ A receipt dated 1 April 1767, not in Smollett’s hand but signed by him, acknowledges that he has received from Archibald Hamilton “Seventy Pounds, in full for the Copy-Right of the Adventures of Telemachus translated from the French by me.” Smollett may have delivered the manuscript ofTelemachusto Hamilton when he received the money, or he may have been paid an advance, but in any event he appears to have concluded his...

    (pp. 363-366)
    (pp. 367-376)
    (pp. 377-378)
    (pp. 379-380)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 381-384)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 385-385)